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Should I play Destiny 2 free to play?

As a tech geek and avid gamer, my opinion is yes – Destiny 2‘s free-to-play version is definitely worth checking out. While the free content is limited compared to the full experience, there‘s still plenty to enjoy at no cost. Below is my in-depth guide to help you decide if Destiny 2 is right for you.

What Exactly is Free in Destiny 2?

Destiny 2 transitioned to a free-to-play model in 2019, allowing all players access to a good amount of content including:

  • Original Destiny 2 campaign
  • All open world patrol zones on Earth, Titan, Nessus, and Io
  • Social hub Tower and Farm spaces
  • Strikes playlist (up to Power level 1080)
  • Crucible & Gambit PvP/PvE modes
  • Prophecy dungeon
  • Vault of Glass raid
  • Limited rotating weekly Nightfall strikes

New Light players can reach the soft power cap of 1500 just from free activities. But any content or modes requiring higher power levels will need the expansions.

What content requires purchase?

  • Shadowkeep expansion campaign & moon destination
  • Beyond Light expansion campaign & Europa destination
  • Witch Queen expansion campaign & Savathun‘s Throne World destination
  • Seasonal activities – ritual activities, story missions, new gear
  • Forsaken and Shadowkeep raids & dungeons
  • Trials of Osiris competitive PvP mode
  • Higher difficulty Nightfall strikes

Expansions must be purchased to experience the full breadth of Destiny 2. But plenty of modes and rewards are still accessible free of charge.

What is the Free-to-Play Experience Like?

Here is a preview of what you can expect jumping into Destiny 2 as a free player:

  • Engaging loot shooter gameplay – Destiny 2 nails its 30 seconds of fun combat loop
  • Decent story content – Around 5-10 hours campaign, introduces you to the world
  • Fun group PvE content – playlists, daily Heroic Story missions, free raid and dungeon provide challenges
  • Competitive PvP – Crucible playlists and Gambit offer free multiplayer modes
  • Depth of items and customization – Even free players get access to tons of weapons, armor, classes, abilities, customizations, etc.
  • Beautiful worlds to explore – Destiny 2’s art, music and set pieces are fantastic

Destiny 2 as a free game provides a satisfying sampler platter giving you a taste of all the different activities and gameplay available. While limited compared to paid content, there are dozens of hours of fun to be had without spending a dime.

How is the free experience limited?

Free players face some restrictions including:

  • Lower max character level – Soft cap at 1500 vs 1560 with expansions
  • No access to expansion campaigns and destinations
  • Less endgame PvE options – newer raids, dungeons, and harder Nightfall strikes require purchase
  • Cannot create Stasis sub-classes
  • Reduced rewards from some weekly bounties and rituals
  • Locked out of seasonal content every 3 months
  • No access to Trials of Osiris or Iron Banner PvP when active

The free version provides a solid taste, but paying players get access to the full breadth of activities and loot pursuit that make Destiny shine.

Should You Buy the Expansions?

For players who enjoy the core gameplay loop, purchasing the expansions is highly recommended to get the full experience. Each expansion includes:

  • A full cinematic campaign 6-10 hours in length
  • New destinations and patrol zones to explore
  • Additional subclasses and abilities
  • Exclusive endgame activities – raids, dungeons, harder Nightfalls
  • Hundreds of new weapons, armor, and exotics to acquire
  • Increased max character and gear power levels
  • Access to seasonal content as it releases

The expansions add a ton of meaningful content and are needed to participate in all Destiny 2 endgame activities. Below are some key considerations on whether to take the plunge:

Cost of Entry

The Legendary Edition bundles all current expansions for only $40 which is very reasonable. Buying just the latest expansion (Lightfall) at $40 includes all content from the previous year. Overall the amount of gameplay hours you get makes the expansions well worth the price.

Ongoing Costs

After buying in, there are additional costs for ongoing content:

  • Season passes – $10 every 3 months for seasonal activities and rewards
  • Dungeon passes – $20 each (optional) to access new dungeons
  • Future expansions – $40 for each major yearly release

So factor in $150-180 per year for all new content. Steep for some, but Destiny provides enough gameplay to justify it for regular players.


Destiny employs FOMO (fear of missing out) with seasonal content going away after each season. If you take a break, you will miss out on activities and gear that go into the Destiny Content Vault. For some this is a frustrating practice, so it helps to know before buying in.

Is Destiny 2 Worth Playing in 2023?

In 2023 Destiny 2 remains one of the top loot shooters on the market and is well worth playing for new and returning players alike. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Very active playerbase – Destiny 2 has maintained over 1 million daily players on Steam alone
  • Frequent new content – massive yearly expansions, seasons every 3 months, events, balance changes keep the game fresh
  • Refined sci-fi looter shooter gameplay – extremely satisfying gunplay, abilities, sounds, controls – best in industry
  • Top notch production value – excellent music, voice acting, art design fully realize the worlds of Destiny
  • Deep investment gameplay loop – endless pursuit of new gear and power creates addiction
  • Fun social experience – co-op PvE activities, competitive PvP multiplayer, shared social spaces

Destiny 2 remains a polished, content-rich live service title. For looter shooter fans, it‘s a premier option that receives ongoing support.

New Player Experience

Destiny 2 isn‘t the most accessible game for new players. But joining in 2023 there are plenty of guides to help get you up to speed on story, concepts, gear, and leveling systems. Finding an active clan is highly recommended.

Cost to Catch Up

While past seasonal content is unavailable, purchasing the current Lightfall expansion provides access to all raids/dungeons and campaign content from the past two years so there isn‘t too much catching up needed.

The Verdict: Try Destiny 2 Free then Consider Buying In

There is a ton of fun to be had in Destiny 2 at no upfront cost. The free version gives you plenty of content to evaluate if Destiny 2‘s core gameplay loop clicks with you. If you find yourself craving greater challenges and progression, purchasing the expansions unlock Destiny 2‘s massive endgame. For looter shooter fans, Destiny 2 remains a premier live service option updated frequently – absolutely worth playing in 2023.